Surety Solutions that Work for Agencies, Companies, and Brokers
Our surety solutions have helped agencies build their book of business while reducing staff, streamline workflow for companies, and increased revenues for brokers. Learn more about how our solutions help our customers in the surety business.
Streamlined Surety Workflow with Security and Reporting Make iAutomate: Erlon Surety the Choice for Minneapolis Surety Exec
Workflow management is crucial for insurance brokers, particularly those that handle a large volume […]
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Streamlined Surety Workflow with Security and Reporting Make iAutomate: Erlon Surety the Choice for Minneapolis Surety Exec Workflow management is crucial for insurance brokers, particularly those that handle a large volume of bonds. For Pat Borchers at the Minneapolis office of Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA), one of the world’s largest insurance brokers, iAutomate: Erlon Surety is her choice for a surety workflow solution.
MMA brokers and manages commercial and personal lines of insurance, and offers services that manage domestic and international risk, provides value-driven employee benefit solutions, and delivers programs to help protect key employees and stakeholders. It is one of the largest brokers in the world with revenues of more than a billion dollars, including revenues driven by its surety business.
“We offer both contract and commercial surety, and I use iAutomate: Erlon Surety for both sides of the deal in our Minneapolis office,” says Pat Borchers, MMA. “I have integrated it for licensing, permitting, and commercial bonds.”
Borchers uses Erlon to house all of the Minneapolis office’s bonds and financial information on surety. “I don’t store anything in our agency management system,” says Borchers. She exports premiums directly into Vertafore’s Sagitta in order to print invoices. “I love it because I can put all of our bond forms in Erlon and print right from within the system.”
Surety is so different from other lines of insurance that it needs a specialized workflow management system. “Erlon does several things – once you set it up with your forms and rates, it helps figure out your bond premiums, house all of the documents, and generate letters,” says Borchers. “You can just click on it and it’s done for you.”
With so many customers to manage, Borchers also appreciates iAutomate: Erlon Surety’s robust reporting features. “Companies want us to generate a list of their bid bonds for the month, quarter, or any time period,” says Borchers. “I can generate it for them, and they can simply upload it into their systems. That is a big benefit.”
One of the important aspects of iAutomate: Erlon Surety is that it is a secure system. Users can determine which employees have access to certain information – a key feature as client statements and other confidential information is on file. Borchers also likes the fact that information stored within iAutomate: Erlon Surety becomes part of the permanent record. “No one can go back into a file and change anything – the record is what it is,” says Borchers. “That security is a big deal for me when I work with customers.
With improved efficiency, integration with Sagitta, flexible reporting, and robust security, iAutomate: Erlon Surety has become an important part of Borchers’ surety workflow. “I can’t ever imagine going back before iAutomate: Erlon Surety,” says Borchers. “It would be archaic to go back.”
iAutomate: Erlon Surety is All in the Family for The Cashion Co.
The Cashion Co. is a true family business. Founded in 1975, the agency is […]
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iAutomate: Erlon Surety is All in the Family for The Cashion Co. The Cashion Co. is a true family business. Founded in 1975, the agency is now run by the second generation of Cashions – a member of the third generation recently joined the team. It prides itself on delivering a high level of service to its contractor customer base. Choosing the right technology to support its surety business meant streamlining workflow while maintaining its contractor-centric approach.
“We looked for a solution that would help us speed up our process, but I am old school,” says Pam Hays, Bond Account Manager, The Cashion Co. “We needed something that was geared for a surety agency and that was easy to learn and work through.”
The team viewed several solutions before settling on iAutomate: Erlon Surety. “It was hands-down our choice – it was bond-centered, jobs-centered, contractor-centered, and user friendly,” says Judy Schoggen, Bond Account Manager, The Cashion Co. “It was like someone sat in our office and figured out what our needs were.”
Schoggen and Hays form the core of the surety team, and while they work closely together, they needed a system that would enable them to keep track of all of the jobs in the system, their status, and bids. “We have a central place to see who is bidding and the results,” says Schoggen. “Insurance Automation Group did its research in knowing what our needs would be and developing a solution to help us bring it all together.”
iAutomate: Erlon Surety became even more valuable to the team when it built an integration to Cashion Co.’s agency management solution, AMS 360. Schoggen and Hays used to track overruns and underruns and manage all billings via manual methods, but with the integration in place, they now have a fully automated system. “Every time we calculate a bond premium, it goes into a queue of bonds ready to be invoiced,” says Schoggen. “We now have a way to make sure all of our billings get done.”
Information is exported directly into AMS 360, including bond details, premiums, and descriptions, and is transmitted accurately, reducing errors and streamlining processes. “It works like a charm,” says Hays. “It is so easy to do invoicing.”
iAutomate: Erlon Surety has cut the time needed to manage its surety workflow in half while making it easier to share information and gain insight into jobs. The integration with AMS 360 has made invoicing a snap, making this solution a must-have for Cashion Co.
“iAutomate: Erlon Surety is geared for surety agencies, and it is easy to learn,” says Hays. “Insurance Automation Group really listens to us and responds to our needs,” says Schoggen.
The bottom line? iAutomate: Erlon Surety has become part of the family.
Northeast Surety Finds Dramatic Time Savings with iAutomate: Surety
Northeast Surety’s merger with another bonds-only agency meant new offices and working relationships, but […]
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Northeast Surety Finds Dramatic Time Savings with iAutomate: Surety Northeast Surety’s merger with another bonds-only agency meant new offices and working relationships, but perhaps the most forward-looking change was implementing iAutomate: Erlon Surety to bring its surety workflow process out of the “dark ages”.
Based in Farmington, CT, Northeast Surety doubled its team to four agents with its 2013 merger. The agency quickly realized that it would need to move beyond Microsoft Word for creating each bond. “We needed a solution we could all use, access each other’s information, and integrate with each other and our QuickBooks software,” says Ken Morotto, Jr., Account Executive and Office Manager of Northeast Surety. After looking at several solutions, “iAutomate: Erlon Surety had the best bang for the buck.”
Before installing the solution, Morotto would manually type in the name, address, obligee, and all information about each bond into the A312 bid bond form. “With Erlon, I put in the job number and a few more things and everything is populated,” says Morotto. “It has freed up so much of my time to do other things.”
The workflow is simple: Upon receiving a request from a customer, he works through four screens that capture the name of job, bid bond penalty percentage, liquidated damages, job details, obligee, appropriate bond form, principal, and bid amount. The final screen populates all of the information to generate the appropriate forms.
When the contractor wins a job, Morotto is able to quickly send the bid results to the underwriter – iAutomate: Erlon Surety calculates the bid spread amount. If the contractor requests a performance bond, it’s a simple click of a button to generate it. “You enter a bond number, and it calculates the premium,” says Morotto. “From there, I export it to QuickBooks. I hardly have to do anything – it’s fantastic.”
The data integration with QuickBooks is a simple web connector that pulls over all of the information from Erlon, including job number, contractor, and premium. “You print out the invoice and you’re done,” he says. “I am a big champion because of how I used to do things – I feel like I was living in the dark ages before iAutomate: Erlon Surety.”
Morotto credits the team at Insurance Automation Group for its close working relationship and customer support. “They pick up the phone in a heartbeat anytime I need something,” he says. “You don’t get that kind of service from a lot of companies – they are right on top of it. They are passionate about what they do.”
After three years of working with the solution, Morotto, too, is passionate about the difference it has made for the agency. “IAutomate: Erlon Surety has saved us a ridiculous amount of time,” says Morotto. “I cannot imagine my life without it.”
iAutomate: Erlon Surety’s Integration with Applied’s Epic Delivers Efficiency and Accuracy to Lawley
At Lawley, a broad array of products means its customers in three states get […]
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iAutomate: Erlon Surety’s Integration with Applied’s Epic Delivers Efficiency and Accuracy to Lawley At Lawley, a broad array of products means its customers in three states get one-stop shopping for everything from benefits to surety, risk management and P&C. Supporting the variety of lines required multiple systems, including one that could handle the unique needs of surety. iAutomate: Erlon Surety delivered the efficiencies needed for the bond team while ensuring tight integration with its agency management system to improve accuracy and save time.
With multiple offices in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, the Buffalo-based firm is a Top 100 National Insurance Broker. Lawley offers personal and business insurance along with risk management and employee benefits solutions. “If they sell it, we carry it,” says Ashley Engl, Operations Analyst, of Lawley’s business. “We are a well-versed shop.” To manage that diversity, Lawley uses Salesforce for its sales and benefits team, Applied’s Epic for P&C and for billing, and iAutomate: Erlon Surety for its bond team.
When the agency was searching for a solution, its primary need was to centralize its documentation in one place and automate calculation. It found a solution that was developed from the ground up to manage the surety workflow. “iAutomate: Erlon Surety was built for bonds – we’re not trying to fit bonds into a system built for other types of insurance. The terminologies and policies are different and our bond people need their own system,” says Engl. “Erlon is our surety system of record.”
The software so fully meets the needs of the bond team that it does not use the Epic system on a day-to-day basis, nor are surety reps even trained on it. Instead Lawley has created a workflow and built out numerous forms entirely within iAutomate: Erlon Surety. It stores all documentation related to bonds within the system, centralizing them in one place. And it conducts a manual transaction update every day to deliver accurate information into Epic without rekeying data.
The tight integration between iAutomate: Erlon Surety and Epic means that Lawley’s surety information is shared seamlessly, eliminating manual and duplicate entry and streamlining billing. All data on policies and clients is pulled into Epic, and bond data is ready for invoicing.
Lawley performs a manual synch to integrate all data and information, from new client data to policy information. Lawley can track every activity, including identifying which clients are ready for renewal and when to generate invoices. Estimated time to manage the synch is a minute or two per policy, but Engl values the data accuracy even more than the time saved over manual re-keying the information from one system to another.
“We know that whatever we put into Erlon will go into Epic the exact same way,” says Engl. “If you do it manually, even if you copy and paste, you can’t be sure.”
Lawley was the first agency to use the integration between iAutomate: Erlon Surety and Epic, and says that mapping fields and data was “definitely worth our time to set it up. It works very smoothly,” says Engl. “The integration has been invaluable.”
HUB International’s Bond Department Relies on iAutomate: Erlon Surety
HUB International (formerly Flynn Insurance Agency) faced a dilemma that many agencies share – […]
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HUB International’s Bond Department Relies on iAutomate: Erlon Surety HUB International (formerly Flynn Insurance Agency) faced a dilemma that many agencies share – an upsurge in business made it difficult for its surety bond division to keep up. The group planned to approach management about adding staff, but instead decided to review its surety bond processing systems. After implementing iAutomate: Erlon Surety in early 2003, the agency has streamlined its bond process so effectively it is able to take on more work without adding extra staff.
The agency provides a complete line of insurance and risk management programs with services ranging from business insurance to personal lines, financial services to contractor bonding. It is one of the major surety bond agencies, issuing more than 200 bonds per month, both commercial and surety. Jenny Taub-Smith, Commercial Account Supervisor, handles the commercial line, and Beth Windom, Bond Account Supervisor, handles contractor surety.
Prior to choosing iAutomate: Erlon Surety, the agency used three programs to complete its surety workflow: a DOS-based bond program to track bonds and create reports, an online system to download pre-generated forms, and a separate billing system. “Every bond we generated required three separate entries,” says Windom. After researching numerous systems, the company chose iAutomate: Erlon Surety, a software solution that automates the entire surety process and generates accurate bonds, from the Westbrook, Maine-based Insurance Automation Group. The benefits were clear:
Three programs in one: HUB replaced its three bond systems with iAutomate: Erlon Surety, which offers a complete surety bond workflow management system. The company now avoids duplicate and triplicate entries into multiple systems and can process bonds, generate reports, and bill all from one system.
Clean, personalized bond generation: iAutomate: Erlon Surety’s ability to develop customized bonds was a major selling point for HUB, which prides itself on its high standards for its surety bonds. “We can create our own forms, and add our own information,” says Windom. “We are meticulous on what we send out of this office, and we are able to get pristine documents from iAutomate: Erlon Surety.” Customizability of program: iAutomate: Erlon Surety is easy to customize, which has enabled Taub-Smith and Windom to create fields and screens that help each other share their workload. Because they handle separate groups of customers, each with its own specialized needs for bond generation, the team has customized its version of iAutomate: Erlon Surety to make it easy to back each other up during vacation or sick days. “It’s easy to create fields for specific categories, including things like social security numbers, birth dates or other information that someone might not think to ask when creating a bond,” says Taub-Smith. “The system walks you through the questions you need to ask a client.”
For HUB, iAutomate: Erlon Surety has provided the right combination of automation and customization in a streamlined system that manages its entire surety bond workflow. “It has allowed us to take on the bonds from our other two offices, and we still have room for more,” says Windom. “Erlon streamlined our procedures. We don’t have to do duplicate or triplicate entry, and that is a huge timesaver for us.”
iAutomate: Erlon Surety Helps Construction Bonds, Inc. Service its Niche
Construction Bonds, Inc. – the firm’s name says it all. This northern Virginia-based agency […]
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Construction Bonds, Inc. – the firm’s name says it all. This northern Virginia-based agency focuses on bonds for construction companies, with an emphasis on helping smaller contractors get their foot in the door. CBI is growing rapidly, with a fivefold increase in revenues in its first four years of business. To accommodate this exceptional growth and maintain a quality product, CBI needed to streamline as many processes as possible. After deploying the first generation of iAutomate: Erlon Surety in 2007, in early 2008 CBI upgraded to the most recent, web-based version of the surety workflow automation software with ease. The on-site training began a new era of satisfaction with Erlon.
John Hughes and Alice Thomas launched the business in 2003, recognizing the no-man’s land between bonds less than $250,000, approved solely on personal credit, and those over several millions of dollars – out of reach of start-up contractors. They focused on helping this market using the bond guarantee program administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) since the 1970s. “This program lets the contractor get a toehold to compete,” says Thomas. “We work with them to help them get their first bond, and after that, a whole world opens up for them.”
Contractors that graduate out of the SBA program into the open market are loyal to Construction Bonds, Inc., which has led to rapid growth for their agency. CBI investigated technology options to help streamline workflow and manage growth. iAutomate: Erlon Surety emerged from all possible options. Attending the 2007 Erlon User Group Conference, Thomas saw the enthusiasm of agents using the first generation software, and felt their excitement at the demo of the web-based version. She decided to further her company’s commitment to the product and invested in on-site training for her and her staff.
The results are significant for the whole team at Construction Bonds, Inc., enabling them, as Thomas says, “to let the technology do the work rather than just hiring more people.”
Features that set Erlon above competitive products:
Improved accuracy – Because iAutomate: Erlon Surety automates all the steps in the surety bond workflow process, the agency has slashed the time and errors by significantly reducing the rekeying of data. Information flows smoothly from the centralized database to generate invoices, correspondence, and populate all contractor files. In addition, iAutomate: Erlon Surety calculates premiums accurately every time, especially important after multiple change orders or modifications.
Ease of use – The newly designed interface for the web-based version of iAutomate: Erlon Surety is easy to navigate, with point-and-click options streamlining all steps and transactions. “The iAutomate: Erlon Surety user interface is easy to use and flexible, with more pointing and clicking rather than opening and closing a lot of windows and documents,” says Thomas.
One-stop-shop – iAutomate: Erlon Surety automates the entire workflow process, and is an address book, scheduler, correspondence generator, premium calculator, and bond generator, all in one package. In addition, Construction Bonds, Inc. can check bid results with a click of a button, enabling the team to keep track of each contractor’s bond lines and ensuring they are bidding for jobs within their limits.
Paperless – Because it’s so easy to gather information from iAutomate: Erlon Surety, it enables Construction Bonds, Inc. to fulfill its goal of being a paperless office. “We can pull up information very quickly from the surety for the contractor, the job, or the competition,” says one of the company’s producers. Easy forms generation – By incorporating iAutomate: SmartForms, Construction Bonds Inc. has streamlined its forms generation processes along with its bonding workflow.
The team at Construction Bonds, Inc. feels rewarded for its renewed efforts to deploy iAutomate: Erlon Surety. “Once we upgraded to the web-based version and got the proper training, the investment is bearing very happy fruit,” says Thomas. “iAutomate: Erlon Surety is a one-stop shop for what we are supposed to be doing, and when we are supposed to do it.”
Propel Insurance Speeds Surety Workflow with iAutomate: Erlon Surety
When the team at Propel Insurance (formerly Bratrud Middleton Insurance) reviewed all of the […}
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When the team at Propel Insurance (formerly Bratrud Middleton Insurance) reviewed all of the steps in their process of developing surety bonds, it discovered a number of steps and areas of duplication. The agency realized that it needed to automate its surety workflow process.
Founded in 1923, Propel Insurance, Inc. is the largest privately owned insurance brokerage in the Northwest, providing insurance, surety bonds, advisory, and other financial services to more than 50,000 consumers and businesses. Headquartered in Tacoma, Washington, Propel employs over 200 people in its network of branch offices and generated $30 million in revenue in 2004.
The team went through, line by line, the steps involved in issuing bonds, from the initial call to getting the bond out the door. There were so many duplicate steps within the office, and so much paper – the company researched a number of solutions, but chose iAutomate: Erlon Surety. iAutomate: Erlon Surety is a software application that automates the surety workflow process, and helps insurance agencies develop error-free surety bonds quickly and easily.
Because Propel specializes in surety bonds, its very common for it to develop multiple bonds for the same project on behalf of its construction company clients. It has multiple CSRs doing the same thing, and often has seven or eight contractors bidding on the same job. This mean the team was manually typing the same forms for each bond.
The company chose iAutomate: Erlon Surety primarily because, unlike underwriting-based products or generic automation software packages, it was designed specifically for automating the surety workflow. The entire program is based on specific job details, contractor information, and surety information. It incorporates the common workflow and basic information needed to issue bonds.
Before automation, the agency was spending between 15 and 20 minutes developing each bond; with iAutomate: Erlon Surety, it has slashed the time to five minutes or less. In addition, the product has enabled the agency to maintain the same staffing levels despite significant growth.
In addition to the time and staff savings, the solution’s ability to check for errors and omissions is a significant benefit for the agency. CSRs enter initial job information for a project bid; when another CSR accesses that job, iAutomate: Erlon Surety displays any discrepancies in information. Issues that can cause a bid to be kicked out, including that it has a different job number for a project, or that a job requires bidders to use an owner-provided bond form, are flagged for the agency. iAutomate: Erlon Surety is a checks-and-balances system for agencies.
We offer exceptional support for our surety solutions, with rapid response and personal attention. We continually update our products with user-requested enhancements, and welcome customer feedback. Many of our customers participate in our active and engaged user group. We want to support your surety agency, company, or brokerage.